Housing

For people who long to live in community with others, with the potential to share spaces, resources, chores, and / or meals. There are as many models for this as there are types of families! Check out the “Resources” section of the site to learn more.


Relevant Work

Plant-Based Buildings

For those interested in a cozy building that draws in more carbon than it emits. These projects began as collaborations with Croft, a carbon-sequestering straw panel manufacturer based in Maine.
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We’re best-suited to work on contemporary, environmentally-responsible, spatially-efficient buildings within a four hour drive of Boston.


Relevant Work

Celebratory Spaces

We design spaces to punctuate life’s special, social moments. We’re a good fit if you’re looking for an experienced team who will:
  • Utilize every inch of space, while preserving a clear design vision
  • Take the pragmatic issues as seriously as the aesthetic ones
  • Help prioritize your budget to maximize impact


Relevant Work
All Season Housing

The form steps down at the stair to break the scale of the long-side of the project


Bringing straw to Boston’s
affordable housing

From the 1880s to the 1930s the “triple decker” - three stacked flats, typically owned by one of the families living there - provided a pathway to affordable home-ownership for Boston’s recent immigrants. Unfortunately, 100 years later, the economics have changed. At this point, the City needs a denser housing model that productively builds on that legacy.

As part of the “Future Decker” competition, the City will donate land to the winning team for development into 80–100% area median income (AMI) affordable home-ownership units.

Our 8-unit proposal reimagines the triple decker’s perfunctory stair as a hub that economically fosters community. The stair abuts a south-facing “all-season” room for shared meals, resident gatherings, and plants.




Ground Floor Plan
From left to right:
  • Covered Parking 
  • Studio Unit
  • Bike Storage 
  • Lobby 
  • All-Season Sunroom / Patio
  • Three-Bed Unit 
  • Communal Planter




The neighborhood’s home to many colorful, clapboard buildings, so we embraced that. Generally, we never want our projects to be ostentatious; we want them to integrate and reveal themselves over time.



The project is a mix of conventional clapboard & vertical siding; a cost effective, subtle way to add texture


The stair abuts a two-story sunroom; part community-builder, part antidote to Boston’s loooooong winters




Third Floor Plan
The central stair looks in to—or in this case, on to—a communal, greenhouse-like sunroom. The units’ living spaces are at the corners to capitalize on natural light & cross ventilation.





The stair links 3 three-bed units in the front to 3 studios and 2 two-beds in the back



Sponsor

City of Boston

Timeline

2024-

Status

Competition

Location

Dorchester, Massachusetts

Services

Architecture
Interior Design

Credits

African Community Economic Development Corporation (ACEDONE),
Community Outreach & Homeowner Engagement Consultant

Chess Engineering,
Civil Engineering

Croft,
Prefab Consultant & Straw Panel Provider

JGE Architecture + Design,
Design Advisor

LB Development Partners,
Development Consultant

Passive to Positive,
Sustainability Consultant

Pristine Engineers,
MEP-FP Engineering

RSE Associates,
Structural Engineer

Star Contracting Co,
Construction Management


Related Work
Uphill Housing



The first straw-insulated multifamily housing project in Maine

This project, 26-units of affordable housing in Portland, Maine, is an exercise in navigating constraints. While all projects are beholden to code, zoning, and their context, this project is also subject to Historic Review and stringent dimensional standards related to affordable subsidies.  

Within that context, we’re also asking bigger questions like:

  • What design decisions can increase cost-savings AND livability?
  • Can an affordable building sequester more CO2 than it emits?
  • Can renters build equity? 1


1. While working on this project, we learned of Renting Partnerships. An organization in Cincinnati, Ohio who’s developed a model in which long-term renters build wealth by taking part in the upkeep of their community.  


Ground Floor Plan

Typical Upper Floor Plan


Client

LB Atlantic, LLC

Timeline

2023-

Status

In Design

Location

Portland, Maine

Services

Architecture
Interior Design

Credits

Acorn Engineering, Inc
Civil Engineering

Base Design Group, Inc
Structural Engineering

BLW Engineers, Inc
MEP-FP Engineering

Croft,
Collaborator & Straw Panel Provider

Pieszak Lighting Design,
Lighting Design


Related Work
Green House


Pick a coconut from your bedroom window!


A new model of housing for multi-generational families and intentional communities

Green House brings a new model of communal living to Boston, one that is equally relevant to two distinct audiences: multi-generational families that want to cohabitate & people looking for the affordability and companionship of co-living.

What would typically be three separate homes share a communal ground floor that contains: dining, living, laundry and, either a “grandmother flat” or a home business. Each unit can be accessed from the first floor by a private stair that leads to their bedrooms.

The housing is paired with a public greenhouse-promenade that creates a mid-block shortcut, extending the community beyond the dwelling. This greenhouse allows the residents to grow a significant amount of food or flowers, and could be used to provide garden plots for neighbors as well. In Boston’s cold climate it provides a taste of the tropics year-round.




One-Third Greenhouse + Two-Thirds House, as viewed from the East side





A site diagram showing the arrangement of the greenhouse & the house
This reconfiguration allows families to eat together and have a greater variety of social interactions, while saving on kitchen costs





The site is two back to back lots that create a mid-block pass through. The dimensions, 170’ long by 14’ wide at it’s narrowest, resist traditional development models



Year round tropics within the greenhouse arcade, which can be opened in the warm months




First Floor Plan, Living Room Zoom




The building is constructed of cross laminated timber (CLT), a low-carbon mass timber structural system that has the warmth & beauty of wood




The upper floors house the majority of the bedrooms and bathrooms.
The shower is separated from the toilet and sink to help mitigate the morning / evening rush. The three separate volumes & the location of the closets creates additional privacy



A third of the ground floor is given over to an in-law unit or a small business (or a hybrid of both, as shown here)



The greenhouse arcade creates a mid-block cut through with year round tropical plants. It:
  • Creates a privacy buffer for the residents
  • Makes use of a long, narrow site, &
  • Generates revenue for the residents through rentable garden plots




A long section cut through the greenhouse-promenade





The height of the greenhouse alternates from one to three stories, in step with the housing. This creates opportunities for trees & hanging plants, while establishing a human-scale




Each bedroom has one window into the greenhouse, and one to fresh air. Window sizes & heights reference the context



A short section cut through the roof deck, bedrooms, living room, and three-story green house.


A short section cut through the communal kitchen showing the windows of the bedrooms beyond



Client

Competition

Timeline

2018

Status

Complete

Location

Boston, Massachusetts

Services

Architecture
Landscape Architecture
Interior Design
Furniture Selection


Related Work
Dodge Mountain House



A carbon smart house in rural Maine made of straw

Our client­—a young couple with plans for children­—wanted a modestly-sized, high-performance, modern house.

They purchased a forested plot with distant ocean views, and reached out to us with a vision for a multi-volume house inspired by—Croft founder, frequent collaborator, and good friend—Andrew Frederick’s nearby home.

Our aim was to internalize the lessons of Andrew’s house and, if we could, build upon them for a family with different needs and site constraints.

The design is composed of two gabled volumes set perpendicularly to each other: one houses the primary bed & bath, and one houses the main living spaces on the first floor & the children’s bedrooms above. They are stitched together by a mudroom, which provides a transitional space and simplifies construction.




The L-shaped house is entered at the outer elbow; the junction between the volumes







The entry porch takes advantage of the morning sun






Floor Plans

First floor; from top left to bottom right:
  • Primary bed & bath
  • Mudroom / entry
  • Family & guest bath
  • Under-stair laundry & utility
  • Pantry
  • Kitchen
  • Living Space
The upstairs houses two additional bedrooms and a storage loft above the primary bath




The house form creates a protected courtyard, which faces the distant ocean views





The kitchen & living space is connected to the inner courtyard through generous windows & a large door





A window at the sink increases counterspace, brings in light, and is a killer spot for bird-watching





The ceiling height - driven by the upstairs bedrooms - makes the modest living room feel spacious






The hall (left) creates a distinction between the social and private spaces of the house while doubling as an excellent art gallery





A window / door pair on the inner courtyard side of the primary bedroom makes it feel like you’re sleeping outside





A view from the storage loft to the primary bed





The entry hall to the primary bed provides the homeowner with an additional layer of privacy





The cedar decking changes orientation as it wraps around the elbow. We get excited about simple moves that feel special without adding cost





Although the house only has a few openings, they are often located across from one another - like the kitchen, shown here - to give the space an airy feel





Locating windows at the corners simplifies prefab panelization and encourages light to bounce as it enters the home 



Client

Private

Timeline

2023-

Status

Under Construction

Location

Rockland, Maine

Services

Architecture
Interior Design

Credits

Croft,
Collaborator & Straw Panel Provider


Related Work
Hair Seaport



A compact salon with serious storage

Within less than 580 square feet, our client charged us with fitting: a reception & waiting space, product display, a refrigerator, five stylist’s setups, four hair processors, two shampoo stations, a color bar, a lash treatment space, a space for customer selfies, an accessible bathroom, laundry, a mop sink, a utility room, and as much storage as possible. After running through a series of iterations where every inch mattered, we arrived at the solution you see here. One where: every feature serves multiple functions, accessibility clearances are met, storage is accounted for, and their brand is broadcasted to the world.




The pink tone indicates storage




The 15-foot central wood display & storage fixture is a warm counterpoint to the glass & steel of the surrounding neighborhood




The custom mirrors mimic the geometry of the shelves. The seam at 8’ above the floor minimizes waste, keeps cost down, and is above the sight-line




At the rear corners of the space, the paint transitions from eggshell to satin. This gives the rear wall visual interest and makes those locations—where the stylists work with dye­—easier to clean




We found a standard anti-fatigue mat product and designed the floor paint at the stations to give it a custom vibe




We specified a 3” diameter wood dowel to give the fixture visual heft, and because it was readily available from product suppliers




The shelf spacing is designed to accommodate the tallest hair product we could find, plus three inches, so that it will serve the client for the long term




The sconces at the stations softly light each patron, while a pair of adjustable track lights overhead provides the even lighting required for the stylist’s to do their job




The central fixture serves many functions. One of the less obvious, but critical, ones is that it helps screen views across the space to create a more intimate experience between stylist and client



All of the benches have hinged tops and interior storage





Timeline

2022-2023

Status

Built

Location

74 Pier 4 Blvd
Boston, MA 02210

Services

Architecture
Interior Design
Furniture Selection
Programming

Credits

WS Development,
Client

Hair Seaport,
Retailer

BLW Engineers
MEP-FP Engineer

Pieszak Lighting Design, 
Lighting Designer

Russco General Contractors
General Contractor

George Gray,
Photography



Related Work